Despite initial disruptions in supply lines, India has somehow managed to feed its large population of 1.37 billion. In fact, if there is any complaint, it is from the producer’s side that the prices of perishables have collapsed in some parts of the country. But, from the consumer’s point of view, even for perishables like milk and vegetables, supply lines were quickly restored and food is easily available in the markets at reasonable prices. A seamless procedure of issuing tokens to farmers, opening several thousand additional procurement centres for wheat, even in rice mill compounds, and putting in place the logistics to procure and move it to states that face a deficit is commendable. These three states have done a great job to ensure farmers get the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,925/quintal. While the APMC markets can keep doing their business as usual, it is time to open channels for direct buying from farmers/farmer producer organisations (FPOs). Any registered large buyer, be it processors or retail groups or exporters must be encouraged by providing them with a license, that is valid all over India. There is one area where India has failed miserably while handling the lockdown — addressing the problems of migrant labourers. Next day, hundreds of thousands migrant labourers thronged the railway stations and the inter-state bus terminus only to be disappointed as all means of transportation had come to a grinding halt. They did not receive the attention and care either from our political class or from the administration of the concerned state government and the Centre.
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